The Culinary Research & Innovation (CRI) team at Red River College are doing some fascinating and delicious work. Their efforts are paying off, with an expanding team and new partnerships emerging. We caught up with CRI’s new Research Technician, Kyle Andreason, to talk about the future of culinary research.
Culinary research and innovation is a fascinating yet often overlooked field. What do you think some of the more exciting trends in culinary innovation are?
The trend that I find most interesting in culinary arts right now is the focus on sustainability. Taking products that are considered waste and turning them into something delicious or nutritious is very cool. I think this is an area where we are going to see a lot of innovation and creative solutions to challenges in the future.
I focus on applied research and product development with local food manufacturing and food service companies, providing a culinary perspective to food service questions and challenges. A few exciting challenges I look forward to taking on are developing recipes, troubleshooting existing products, and coming up with brand new ways to utilize products.
You have a neat international history in the culinary arts that led you to an interest in sustainability and regionally sourced products. Tell us about your professional history in the culinary arts.
There are very few careers where you have the opportunity to learn as much as you do in a kitchen. After finishing the Culinary Arts program at Red River College, I travelled through Europe absorbing as much from the cultures as I could before travelling to Australia to work.
Seeing the ways different cultures interpret dishes gives you new perspective on food. When I came home from travelling, I took a position as Chef in a resort outside of Riding Mountain National Park. My eyes were opened to local foods and sustainability, two things which have stuck with me since then.
After I left the resort kitchen, I went east to Ottawa for more experience. I found a small ki
tchen that shared the same values as me: local foods, creativity, and the attitude of questioning why we do things the way we do in a kitchen. That ask “why” attitude is what lead me to this job, and I am excited to continue learning here at the College where it all began.
And you’re also carrying on something of a family tradition from what we’re told?
I am the son of a baker, who is the son of a baker, so I don’t think anyone was that surprised I ended up working in the food industry.
A Christmas tradition that my grandfather brought with him when he moved to Canada from Denmark was making kringle. Kringles are wonderful Danish Christmas pastry in the shape of a pretzel and filled with marzipan. Every year my grandfather and father would make a hundred or so for all the families that had grown to expect them for the holidays. After our family sold the bakery, my Dad would still go to the bakery to help make the kringles and keep the tradition alive.
What’s your favourite thing to do in the kitchen?
I like aging and preserving foods. These long processes and transformation of ingredients is very interesting to me. Things we take for granted like that brick of parmesan cheese in your fridge are the end result of a cow that was milked a year ago.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
My favorite restaurant is a tough question to answer. I love eating anywhere where I can order lots of small plates to share. I love that style of dining, you get to taste a wide range of flavors and have a shared experience with everyone at the table. That being said I do really like WVRST in Toronto. It is a sausage and beer restaurant, what’s not to love?
What’s your favourite dish?
Well because I love small plates I obviously love dim sum. I can’t pick a favorite dim sum item though. I will have one of everything, thank you so much.
I haven’t met a food I don’t like just yet, bring on all the exotic cuts, interesting vegetables and insects. I may not love them all, but I will always give an ingredient a fair shake.
What about this job appealed to you?
To learn and grow as a chef. Having the opportunity to work side-by-side with so many experienced chefs at the college is a privilege not many people get.
Click here to learn more about Culinary Research & Innovation at the College.